It’s one of those albums where you just get lost in the storytelling, with songwriting that paints such vivid pictures of the characters he sings about and the world around them. Back that up with some incredible production and music that’s heavy on the steel guitar, and you can easily see why we chose How the Mighty Fall as our #1 album of 2021.
One of the favorites from the album, and the song that Charles used as the closer for his most recent round of shows, was “Strong.”
The song is all about overcoming adversity, taking your licks and bouncing back stronger than before. It’s a song that Charles said he wrote during a tough time in his – and pretty much everybody’s – life: The start of the COVID pandemic.
“My song strong is all about resiliency. At the time I wrote it, it was July 2020 so the pandemic was in full swing. My wife and I with our son, we were spending a lot of time over in Seneca Rocks, West Virginia, just kinda staying away from the world.
And I was very worried about our livelihood and my career. I hadn’t played a show in a handful of months at that point and it came at a bad time for a lot of folks, and I was certainly one of those. It really hurt me in a professional sense.
I wrote that song to get myself pumped up. I knew there’s nothing that I could do to control any of that. All I could do was control my effort going forward and what I was going to do about it. So that song really, the emotion behind all that was just to get myself fired up, pick myself back up, keep fighting and to move forward for what I want in this world.”
The song also contains a reference to former star Olympic runner Steve Prefontaine, who Charles says was his brother’s favorite athlete growing up and a symbol of resilience for his gutsy performances:
“I thought he was a perfect symbol for resiliency and strength…
I’d never heard anybody mention him in a song and I thought he was a songworthy person who lived a life worthy of that. I just thought it worked perfectly to fit him in that song.”
And now Charles is dropping a full music video for the fan-favorite “Strong.”
Featuring scenes that tell stories of overcoming adversity cut with shots of Charles and his band (including his producer Al Torrence on guitar), the video was directed by Robert Tinnell, the same director that Charles turned to for the captivating video for his breakout single “Coal Country.”
If this one doesn’t get ya pumped up and ready to run through a brick wall, I don’t know what to tell ya.